Map: Illinois Prime for Wind Development Done Right
Friday, August 28, 2020
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- There's encouraging news about Illinois' potential for wind energy development in a new analysis.
The 17 states spanning the central U.S. are known as the "Wind Belt," with roughly 80% of the nation's current and planned wind-energy capacity.
And Jeff Walk -- director of conservation programs with The Nature Conservancy in Illinois -- said his group's new mapping tool, called "Site Wind Right," uses wind, land use and wildlife data to detect areas where conflicts between wind development and wildlife are likely to be minimal.
"We identified low-risk areas in that Wind Belt that could generate something on the order of about 100 gigawatts of energy," said Walk. "Which is roughly equivalent to the total energy generation potential that the United States has today."
In Illinois, roughly two million acres are available for wind development. Walk said if that was built out, it could generate enough energy to power a city the size of Chicago.
Walk said he hopes the mapping tool will be used by developers, power purchasers and policymakers in planning low-risk wind projects.
Walk said he sees wind energy development as an integral part of meeting the nation's climate goals. However, he notes, when it isn't properly planned, wind development can negatively affect wildlife and ecosystems - in part because it requires large areas of land.
"We need to be fully supportive of a rapid transition to renewable energy sources," said Walk, "and acknowledging that all forms of energy generation have some environmental impact."
He added that siting wind development in areas of relatively low conservation impact also can reduce the timeline for project approval, as well as project costs.
Disclosure: The Nature Conservancy - Midwest Region contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Sustainable Agriculture, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
ARLINGTON, Va. -- As a Northern Virginia school system transitions away from using police officers in schools, a new report suggests COVID stimulus …
DES MOINES, Iowa -- In five weeks, voters in many Iowa cities will cast their ballots for local elections, and the Secretary of State's office is …
AURORA, Colo. -- School districts across Colorado had to get creative to ensure families could access critical meals during pandemic-related closures…
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Draft rules are out for a program designed to confront climate change in Oregon, but organizations say it does not go far enough to …
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers are slated to vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday…
Health and Wellness
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A veterinary drug doctors call unsafe for treating COVID-19 has caused the deaths of two people in New Mexico, according to the …
RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed sweeping criminal-justice reform into law this month that is meant to hold police more …
Health and Wellness
BALTIMORE -- Spurred on by COVID challenges, a grant from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council to two human services providers is …